Lucy (TheBookBelle)'s Reviews > Death Comes to Pemberley

Death Comes to Pemberley by P.D. James
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's review
Aug 20, 2012

did not like it
bookshelves: historical-fiction, regency

Eurgh, just why did I read this book? I think the word Pemberley drew me in. A great marketing technique, preying on innocent Austen fans who just want their next fix of the world of Pride and Prejudice.


This book was just a huge disappointment. On reading the back, I thought, 'Wow, a mystery set in Pemberley? Should be good.' NO, I was wrong. The plot was simply boring, cringey, and pointless. This isn't a regency novel - well, okay, it is, but not a good one. James' description of the famous world of Elizabeth Bennett and Mr Darcy was just embarrassing. There was absolutely nothing in this book that was resonant of the book it was based on, Pride and Prejudice. As a HUGE Austen fan, I just felt cheated. This wasn't Mr Darcy. This wasn't Elizabeth. Elizabeth was actually boring and dull. Where was that famous wit?? Was P. D. James just too lazy to add in the character's actual traits? Even their relationship was nothing special.

Maybe my problem was that I was trying to read it as a form of sequel, rather than read it as a mystery novel. However, taking a step back, it was a pretty bad mystery novel too. A good mystery novel should be fully devoted to exceptional characterisation, I believe. There was no characterisation. A good mystery novel should thrill you with shocking twists. There were no shocking twists, and the most thrilling thing about this book was finishing it. A good mystery novel should make you care for the characters, so that the twists are more shocking, and completely unexpected. The 'culprit' of the murder was a background character, who I really didn't blink twice at. I didn't even care if he was the murderer. Who cares? The actual trial for the murder of Denny was about 40 pages long. I should have gone to sleep instead.

Lesson learned: Don't fall for a gimmicky Austen-ised novel. It will never live up to the real thing. Oh, and the most embarrassing part of the plot? P. D. James' attempt to weave in characters from Persuasionand Emma, by mentioning 'The Eliots' and 'Mrs Knightley' and 'Harriet Smith'. NO. BACK AWAY FROM THE JANE AUSTEN CHARACTERS JAMES. WE'VE ALREADY ESTABLISHED YOU CAN'T WRITE THEM FOR SHIT. SO DON'T DESTROY ANY MORE OF AUSTEN'S PERFECTION. And it's not like every Regency book out there is like this; I've read Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict and loved it.

So, from this review, you could probably say that no, I didn't like this book. I pretty much hated it in fact. I don't give out hardly ANY one star ratings, simply because I have a tendency to fall for good writing and loveable characters. Hell no to this one.

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Reading Progress

August 20, 2012 – Started Reading
August 20, 2012 – Shelved
August 20, 2012 –
page 65
August 20, 2012 –
page 65
August 20, 2012 –
page 93
August 25, 2012 –
page 175
August 25, 2012 –
page 175
August 29, 2012 – Shelved as: historical-fiction
August 29, 2012 – Shelved as: regency
August 29, 2012 –
page 205
62.12% "As a huge Austen fan, this book is slightly painful to read. WHAT HAS P.D JAMES DONE TO MY BELOVED CHARACTERS. Eurgh, I guess I'll have to persevere through this one..."
September 1, 2012 – Finished Reading

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